WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court today vacated and remanded a 7th Circuit ruling that upheld the conviction of media mogul Conrad Black, who was convicted of defrauding shareholders of Hollinger International and squandering millions of dollars on himself. Justices cited “the honest-services component of the federal mail-fraud statute” and its effect on jury instructions.
Black has been in prison since March 2008, serving 6½ years for fraud and obstruction of justice.
Justice Ginsburg wrote for the court: “In Skilling v. United States, decided today … this Court vacated a conviction on the ground that the honest-services component of the federal mail-fraud statute, §1346, criminalizes only schemes to defraud that involve bribes or kickbacks. That holding renders the honest-services instructions given in this case incorrect.
“By properly objecting to the honest-services jury instructions at trial, Defendants secured their right to challenge those instructions on appeal.”
The Supreme Court vacated the 7th Circuit decision and remanded, “for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”